Credit card swipe fees can be charged in Pa.
Stores can now ask consumers using credit cards to pay a surcharge or “swipe fee,” as a result of a proposed legal settlement.
Experts suggest that small retailers are the most likely to pass along the fees they're charged by Visa and MasterCard.
Any merchant who does is required, under the agreement, to inform shoppers as they enter a store and as they pay, with any such fees noted on receipts.
Debit cards would not be affected.
Ten states — including New York, Florida, Texas and California — forbid such surcharges, but they're legal in Pennsylvania, according to reports.
Wal-Mart, Target, Macy's and Sears will not be adding fees, and other major retailers are likely to also refrain, to remain competitive, according to a Bloomberg News report.
Those chains are also big enough to negotiate reduced fees with charge-card companies.
The Kroger grocery-store chain said last year it might consider surcharges, but recently told Bloomberg only that it's working on using incentives to get customers to use less-costly ways to pay.
The right to levy these checkout surcharges comes from a class-action suit in which retailers, including Kroger's and Safeway, alleged that banks and credit card companies conspired to keep fees high. The tentative settlement was reached in July, but the right to pass along fees didn't take effect until Sunday.
The fee, which could be a percentage of the purchase cost, cannot exceed the fee owed by the retailer to the credit card company.
How American Express and Discover figure into the picture is unclear. One report said that stores accepting American Express would be unable to charge checkout fees for any card, because American Express forbids them.
But the Consumerist, a nonprofit subsidiary of Consumer Reports, has said the door would be open for surcharges on American Express and Discover purchases as well.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Beacons track shoppers’ smartphones amid retailers’ aisles
- 8 Western Pennsylvania hospitals penalized over infections
- Hospital finances still crying ‘ouch’
- Nonprofit hospitals in Western Pa. feel pain in finances despite Affordable Care Act
- Gas field drillers, activists seek statewide rules for wells
- Forward Township road to gas well waits for repairs
- Redundant backup systems are keeping nuclear plants safe
- 2015 will be a big year for small SUVs
- Energy spotlight: Michael Jarvis
- U.S. rig count down 27 to 1,893
- Consol researcher Reichl pioneered uses for coal